To the surprise of many people (including manager Briatore), Alonso announced that he would be leaving Renault for rivals McLaren. This immediately after winning his first World Championship with Renault.
After much deliberation, Flavio has finally come out to say, “I think it is normal that he wanted to leave at some point, he needs a new challenge on a sporting level, to win with somebody else.”
“He is a young guy, he has grown up with us, it is time for him to leave home.”
For some time, rumours (including here on Carblog) have been going around that Alonso may stick with Renault next year. Fernando squashed that rumour yesterday with the statement that “…the French like their rumours…”
So the record has finally been set straight. Fernando will indeed be moving to McLaren as of next year.
But according to Flavio Briatore, this will not be the end of Renault.
“People talk about cycles of success and we will finish a phase when Fernando leaves Renault this year.”
“But no team revolves around one person and I think that without change, you can get trapped. We want to carry on winning next year, to show we can beat McLaren and Fernando.”
I think my favourite comment (and one that sums it up nicely) is the following:
“…at Renault, we have built a team with Fernando, not for him or around him. That team will continue, and we will try 100% to win with him until the final race – and then 100% to beat him after that.”